Georgia transportation bill now in Senate hands

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle followed convention Monday and assigned House Bill 170 to the Senate Transportation Committee, a sure sign of how the chamber will control the Georgia General Assembly’s signature piece of legislation this year.

The bill, which supporters hope will raise more than $1 billion a year for transportation improvements statewide, passed the state House last week. Cagle’s staff, however, had been noncommittal about which committee it would go to upon its introduction this week in the Senate. Among its rumored destination’s was the Senate Finance Committee, where Cagle could have exerted more control over the bill.

Transportation Committee Chairman Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, has spent much of the session prepping his committee colleagues for the task, and has been vocal about ideas he’d like to see in the bill.

Cagle, however, has the ultimate authority of deciding which committee a bill lands in — a perk of presiding over the Senate as its president. When rumors surfaced last week that Cagle may be considering sending the bill to the Finance Committee, Williams deferred to what he said was ultimately Cagle’s choice.

He and Williams have clashed in previous years when Williams was the chamber’s president pro tem and showed a strong independent streak that isolated Cagle’s power.

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